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My name is Thandeka Mfinyongo and I am studying MMus Performance. My favourite aspect of my studies is the practical side, learning to play the Kora, learning about the history of Mande music and composing. COVID-19 has affected my mental health, causing a lot of anxiety where I am thinking mostly about home. Sometimes I cannot focus on school work, I procrastinate and have no motivation to study. I cannot say I have fully adapted to working remotely, it’s a matter of taking things one day at a time.
The Hardship Fund means giving back and assisting those who are in need and taking some of the burden off their shoulders; I know that is what it has done for me personally. While I am excited to have had the opportunity to study in London, my long term goal remains becoming a performer whose music helps address the issues of Africa’s forgotten histories and cultures. By furthering African indigenous music, I want to teach young children in the same poverty-stricken township where I grew up, in South Africa.
My long-term ambition is to teach about the instruments I play - how to play them, how to make them, and their value in modern society. In doing so, I hope to ensure that the music of Africans contributes to the restoration of Africa, and that the forces of globalisation and modernity will include rather than erase us and our contributions. I encourage SOAS alumni to continue supporting us, it really helps and does not go unnoticed. I know it has helped me and I am grateful to the SOAS community who want to support students in a similar situation.